We’ve all probably caught a glimpse of them on television or read an article somewhere about them in either your local newspaper or your favorite periodical. They’re the ones thumping the Bible in one hand while casting demons out with other. Usually people suffering from various afflictions ranging from broken bones, arthritis or various forms of cancer either feel compelled or they are selected from the audience and brought up on stage in front of a screaming congregation. Then, while the preacher does his or her “Lawd Awmighty’s” and bashes them on the forehead they fall down into the waiting arms of an usher and are gently lowered to the floor. Soon afterwards, they break out in convulsions only to be revived moments later miraculously cured of whatever brought them there in the first place.

As for the people themselves, are they the gullible ones who will buy the snake oil at any cost or are they planted in the audience beforehand so that when the collection plate rolls around Joe Savior can line his or her pockets and ride off in a cloud of dust in their custom made limo? Or, sadly enough, are they the most desperate ones? The ones who either can’t afford health care or insurance and have been left to fend for themselves by the medical community and are willing to take any measure they can and spend their last dime to prolong what little time they have left here on Earth? Maybe they’re what I would call the deranged ones. The ones who scoff at the advances made in medicine and treatment and who would just as soon let their little ones die of a common cold than to pay a visit to the doctor or the local health clinic?

Who knows what drives people to do what they do?

The term faith healing has a couple of other noms de plumes that it likes to go by. The first one is something called “Spiritual Healing” and while I know that sounds all New Age and trendy and stuff, it basically boils down to the same old thing called the Laying on of Hands. In a nutshell, all of these practices are founded upon the belief that certain people or certain places have the power to cure or heal whatever is ailing you through some kind of divine intervention. Mostly this involves a prayer to the god(s) of your choice either by you or your loved ones or an actual visit to a designated holy place.

On the flip side of the coin, there’s also something called the power of prayer. There’s been a lot of talk on the news about it lately and how it relates to the healing of the sick or injured. So far, no scientific evidence has been unearthed that supports the claim that prayer can actually provide a cure to whatever is ailing you or your loved one but maybe it never was intended as a cure in the first place. If you were to ask me, instead of a cure, it might just provide some relief and in my mind's eye, maybe that’s just as important.

I don’t know how many of you out there have had a near death experience or have suffered on the sidelines as you watched someone you cared about waste away through the ravages of disease or go through some traumatic event like a car accident or similar circumstance but I’m here to tell ya, it ain’t good.

In my case, I was hoping that people were keeping me in their thoughts and saying some prayers not for me but for the doctors that were about to slice me open like a melon and go prying about my insides. For all I was concerned, all that fire and brimstone talk could stay in the pulpit and with those early morning preachers and reverends chanting their “Hallelujah’s" and quoting scripture as if they had written it themselves. They’re nothing but a bunch of thieving bastards that prey on the hopes and the suffering of those people who have nowhere else to turn.

The vast majority of the scientific community has not embraced faith healing and in fact, have denounced it entirely. The same can’t be said for the power of prayer. I’m not an expert or a doctor but I guess they figure that it isn’t doing any harm and if that’s the case, they’ll take all the help they can get.